Play Review: “Daddy” is delightful and moving
Any gay man who has a gay best friend can relate to the funny and complicated relationship between Colin and Stewart in Daddy, a wonderfully written and acted play that has just began a six-week run at the Hudson Mainstage Theater in Hollywood.
The play focuses on what happens when newspaper columnist Colin (Gerald McCullouch) falls for Tee, an intern at his newspaper half his age (Ian Verdun) and the impact it has on his relationship with Stewart (Dan Via), a brilliant and witty attorney.
When Stewart finds out aging golden boy Colin is now involved with the 21-year-old Tee he says: “You’re little fetish for post-collegiate is bad enough but c’mon, he’s a fetus!”
Colin and Stewart were roommates at Yale, fooled around a bit back then, but settled into being inseparable best friends in the decades since.They seem very different on the surface but their friendship is a strong one and they share such rituals as watching ballgames together, Sunday brunch and shopping trips to IKEA.
The sexy Colin prefers to hook up with younger guys he meets at the local bar and in his soccer league and says at one point: “I’m a bachelor by nature – I don’t like being obligated.”
To which Stewart retorts: “You’re not the marrying kind, you’re more of a slut.”
While Colin is constantly on the prowl and passionate about his work as a journalist, Stewart has shut down on many levels (from family, from love, from emotional intimacy) and he hides behind his biting wit. He says things like: “Whoever said opposites attract has never been to a gay bar.”
And when Colin bemoans that he never became a father, Stewartsays: “You could adopt. That jacket would go great with an Asian baby.”
Then there is the fact that Colin has stayed in such great shape. Stewart says: “A true friend would succumb to middle age spread like a normal person.”
It is that kind of humor and razor-sharp delivery that makes Daddy such a delightful evening at the theater. You sort of feel a bit like you are watching Niles Crane from Frasier in Stewart and a gay version of Barney Stinson from How I Met Your Mother in Colin.
The marrying of an actor with such witty lines is no accident: the play was written by Dan Via who plays Stewart. He’s absolutely perfect in his role as is McCullouch as Colin who is wonderfully nuanced throughout and particularly shines in scenes where he is giddily preparing a romantic dinner for his new young friend and in some dramatic moments at the end of the play.
The two have a remarkable chemistry no doubt perfected during the off-Broadway run of the play. It’s just a delight to watch them together in such a well-written piece that is very smart and witty and has some unexpected twists. It’s also refreshing to see a piece that reflects on gay men entering middle age and exploring the idea of family.
I highly recommend you see Daddy which is superbly directed by Rick Sparks and produced by Racquel Lehrman for Theatre Planners. It is at the Hudson Mainstage (6539 Santa Monica Blvd., Hollywood, CA, 90038) through Feb. 13. For tickets call (323) 960-7738 or www.plays411.com/daddy